Medical therapy to attenuate fetal anaemia in severe maternal red cell alloimmunisation

James Castleman, Kenneth Moise JR, Mark Kilby

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Haemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN) remains an important cause of fetal mortality with potential neonatal and longer-term morbidity. HDFN is caused by maternal red cell alloimmunisation, with IgG antibodies crossing the placenta to destroy fetal erythroid cells expressing the involved antigen. Intrauterine fetal blood transfusion is the therapy of choice for severe fetal anaemia. Despite a strong evidence base and technical advances, invasive fetal therapy carries risk of miscarriage and preterm birth. Procedure-related risks are increased when invasive, in utero transfusion is instituted prior to 22 weeks to treat severe early-onset fetal anaemia. This review focuses upon this cohort of HDFN and discusses intravenous immunoglobin (IVIg) and novel monoclonal antibody (M281, nipocalimab) treatments which, if started at the end of the first trimester, may attenuate the transplacental passage and fetal effects of IgG antibodies. Such therapy has the ability to improve fetal survival in this severe presentation of HDFN when early in utero transfusion may be required and may have wider implications for the perinatal management in general.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Early online date14 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Aug 2020


  • anti-D
  • clinical trials
  • fetal blood
  • fetal medicine
  • immune haemolytic anaemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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